From all external indications, there is nothing too remarkable about Silver Spoon: a large bright sign, an advertisement for a $6.95 lunch special designed to lure in pad Thai-swilling office workers and a posted menu of mostly standard-issue Ameri-Thai classics. But just below the surface lurks a fascinating and unexpected array of authentic flavors and preparations. Spoon
on Western Avenue (Silver Spoon’s sister restaurant) has long been a darling of Chicago’s authentic Thai aficionados (thanks to a Thai-language menu that was translated and distributed on the Internet), and Silver Spoon seems poised to become the same.
Many of the dishes from Spoon’s Thai menu are available at Silver Spoon as well. I especially recommend the som tam, slivers of crunchy green papaya with lime juice, fish sauce, chilis, peanuts, tomato, green beans and small dried shrimp. Gai tod is marinated fried chicken, mostly dark meat, intense and juicy with a spicy dipping sauce. The owners have a good history of accommodating requests for Thai-style spiciness, especially after a couple of visits.
The Japanese side of the menu is also appealing. Let the chefs indulge in a little creative Japanese/Thai fusion. Order the sashimi special for $21 and specifically request a Thai approach. One recent order consisted of wafer-thin tiles of raw red snapper marinating in soy/lime/vinegar jus topped with crunchy orange roe, deep brown long-fried frizzled onions and a knot of clear rice noodles dressed with chives.
The creative impulse strikes when you order the chef’s maki as well. We ate a futo maki filled with tempura shrimp, omelette, cucumber and seaweed, in a light whipped green curry bath: an unexpected and delicious combination.
Average cost: <$10